ANNAPOLIS, Md. (July 22, 2010) – Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown honored Maryland’s participants of the 2010 Veterans Affairs National Rehabilitation Special Events at a ceremony this morning in the State House. Lt. Governor Brown, joined by Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Edward Chow, Department of Disabilities Secretary Catherine Raggio, Department of Aging Secretary Gloria Lawlah and friends and families of the nine veterans, gave brief remarks and presented Governor’s Citations to the athletes. During his remarks, Brown highlighted the O’Malley-Brown administration’s commitment to veterans and thanked the athletes for their work to support Maryland’s veterans and raise awareness of rehabilitation programs.
“Governor O’Malley and I are pleased to congratulate Maryland’s veterans on their accomplishments and hard work as they represented us well in this year’s special events, competing against some of our nation’s finest and fittest warriors,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “Their determination and courage is honorable and their participation in these athletic competitions supports Maryland in our mission to raise awareness of opportunities for veterans that enhance their quality of life, improve the care they receive and places them in fulfilling activities and careers.”
For more than 20 years, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has sponsored national rehabilitation special events for our nation’s veterans. These annual national programs promote the healing of body and spirit and motivate eligible veterans to reach their full potential, improve their independence, achieve a healthier lifestyle and enjoy a higher quality of life. Each program enhances the physical, social and emotional well-being of the veterans who participate and improves the awareness of the therapeutic value of recreation, sports, or creative arts therapy in the lives of our nation’s veterans. The veterans who were honored today participated in three of the VA’s special events: the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, the National Veterans Golden Age Games and the National Veterans Wheelchair Games.
Since taking office, the O’Malley-Brown administration has made veterans a top priority. Lt. Governor Brown has led efforts to protect funding for programs and services that enhance the quality of life and create opportunities for Maryland’s veterans. The administration passed legislation creating and has invested over $4.4 million in the Veterans Behavioral Health Act and has invested nearly $3 million to the Iraq and Afghanistan Scholarship Program. The administration established the Veteran No-Interest Loan Program for veterans, service-disabled veterans and employers of military reservists or National Guard personnel called to active duty and also established the Small Business Procurement Preference for veteran-owned and service-connected veteran-owned small businesses.
Lt. Governor Brown, the nation’s highest-ranking elected official to have served a tour of duty in Iraq, is a Colonel is the United States Army Reserves. He currently commands the 153rd Legal Support Organization in Pennsylvania.